Understanding Electric Scooter Demand with Geospatial Data

Electric Scooters are becoming a common sight in cities around the world. Considered to offer an affordable, quick & eco-friendly form of last mile transportation, their popularity is on the rise.

With the UK recently giving electric scooters the green light to go on Britain’s public roads they are due to be part of the transport revolution. Electric Scooters are becoming big business with the worldwide electric scooter industry predicted to be worth $41 billion USD by 2030.

 

Why Scooters Matter

Ambient air pollution is a major global health threat, responsible for an estimated loss of 103 million disability-adjusted life-years in 2015, and a main contributor to numerous health problems, such as cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.

Within the traffic domain of air pollution, cars, lorries, busses, mopeds, and scooters are all partly responsible. Scooters are of particular importance regarding, amongst others, black carbon, carcinogenic benzene, and (ultrafine) particulate matter exhaust.

With major cities such as London, having aggressive targets to ban all petrol vehicles by 2035, in support of climate change, non renewable resources and improving ambient air quality, modes of transport such as electric scooters are important.

The major topic of conversation is the integration of electric mobility.

Why Data Matters

Cities are launching scooter programs, with rules focused on safety, equity, and vehicle supply. In these early days, cities are still learning how to write smart regulations that protect the public interest and support new forms of transportation.

Data is essential to this learning process and to have an effective conversation with city residents. With details of vehicle status, trip history and routes, and maintenance events, cities can answer important questions like:

Are scooters being equitably deployed across neighbourhoods?
Are service area boundaries being respected?
Are safety concerns dealt with promptly?
Are limits on the number of vehicles being followed — and are those limits appropriate to meet demand?
Where and when are people using scooters and how can this guide investment in infrastructure — like bike lanes and designated parking?
Are new services helping people and communities most in need of better transportation options?

The answers to these questions will guide policy making and let cities steer towards good public outcomes through thoughtful, responsive oversight.

 

With data, cities can proactively manage scooter services and measure their community impact, not just react to complaints and problems.

 

Data sharing, however, can be fraught with risk, and cities must tread carefully to navigate the space between detailed usage data and customer privacy. Just a few years ago New York accidentally leaked detailed taxicab locations by insufficiently anonymizing the data.

Cities now intuitively understand the value of deciding with data, but they don’t always know what to ask for. It’s easy to gather too much or too little data, or at the wrong level of detail to be useful.

If you have questions about data or are using data to help with your decision making process then talk to a CACI specialist about harnessing data to support your evolving operations.

 

  By Chloe MacDonald – Geospatial Data & GIS Consultant